Suffering is such a strange phenomenon. I'm the type of person who loves attention. If I'm sick, I want everyone to know so that they can "baby" me. I'm talking, if I have a cold I want you to know. Thank God everyone isn't like me. The world would be a pretty annoying place. My roommate in college was the complete opposite. When he would get sick, he would just go lock himself away in his room and wouldn't come out until he was feeling better. I remember one time, when I was sick, I was at home at my parent's house. I was always somewhat of a mama's boy. I wasn't feeling good so my mom graciously rubbed my feet. Well, my best friends happened to walk into my room while she was doing this. Needless to say, it wasn't cool. Yes, they made fun of me. I guess they thought I was a wimp. I don't really care. I got a free foot rub. Anyway, the point of the story is that different people respond to suffering differently. That's fine.
Dealing with suffering, the last ten years or so, I've noticed something more sinister that can easily creep in if you're not careful. I suppose being a crybaby isn't too big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. However, I have begun to notice something far more concerning in me over the years. I'm talking about judging others who, in my opinion, haven't suffered or rather haven't suffered at the level of severity I feel I have. Oh, it's sneaky and it will disguise itself as something more refined or spiritual like "wisdom," but actually it's just disgusting pride. I begin to turn up my nose at people who haven't gone through what I have. I mean any "suffering" they have experienced or think they have experienced I view as a mere hangnail compared to how I feel. My mind begins to rehearse lies and half truths like, Nobody knows the trouble I've seen. I'd like to say "Walk a mile in my shoes baby." "You don't know me," etc., etc., etc. "Who do you think you are?" "You've been in the rain." "You've never been in a storm." And so on and so forth the thoughts go as I methodically cut down anyone I deem "unworthy" in my mind.
Everybody has a story. Everybody has a storm. Maybe you just don't know about it. There's an old saying that goes something like, "treat everyone you meet with grace and kindness for everyone you meet is fighting a battle."
Does adversity give you a platform, a voice? You bet it does. But don't become prideful in your heart. Everyone is fighting a battle. Show your scars to help others heal not to reject them from your little club of worthy sufferers. -Chad Bozarth